Ford E-Transit review

The Ford E-Transit brings the popular van into the electric era.

Pros: easy to drive, cheaper to run

Cons: high purchase price, won't suit all uses

It's not only cars that are going electric these days, as the new Ford E-Transit packs a big battery into the popular commercial vehicle to help businesses cut out tailpipe emissions and reduce operating costs. 

Ford E-Transit Design 

Ford knows a thing or two about vans, and it has put its vast experience to good use in creating the E-Transit. Perhaps the most important aspect is that the integration of the electric powertrain hasn't impacted the amount of cargo that it can carry. 

The 68kWh (usable) battery is fitted to the underside allowing Ford to continue offering panel van and crew cab versions of the Transit in three lengths and two roof heights, in addition to a chassis cab for box body and other applications between 3.5- to 4.25 tonnes. 

Other than the E-Transit badges on the rear and some flashes of blue across the front grille there is little else to differentiate it from its diesel equivalent. The battery charge port is located at the front, which should make it easy to access most types of chargers - including rapid DC charging with a peak of 115kW that can top the battery back up to 80 per cent in as little as 34 minutes. 

Ford knows that the van is more than simply a form of transport for many tradespeople, which is why it has found an extra use for its big battery. ProPower Onboard is a 2.3kW power supply for external items such as power tools to make work life easier on-site or in a remote location where mains electricity might not be available. It uses power directly from the battery and operators can set a minimum reserve level to ensure there's enough power to complete the journey later on. 

Ford E-Transit Interior

Allowing drivers to access all of the additional functionality of the E-Transit is a 12-inch touchscreen running Ford's latest SYNC4 infotainment system. Voice assistance from Amazon Alexa, built-in navigation and Intelligent Range software to give drivers a more accurate distance-to-empty are some of the features of the E-Transit. 

Smartphone connectivity, a mixture of USB and 12-volt power sockets and storage are dotted throughout the interior. Still, the lack of any suitable place to put a smartphone shows the age of the Transit, which has remained largely unchanged for several years. 

Ford E-Transit Performance & Drive 

To help package the electric drivetrain, Ford designed an all-new independent rear suspension setup that it says is one of the heaviest duty layouts ever created this side of the military Humvee. There is the choice of two electric motors, with 135kW (185hp) or 198kW (269hp), both producing 430Nm of torque and driving the rear wheels via a single-speed automatic gearbox. 

With a fully charged battery, Ford says the E-Transit can cover between 238- and 305 kilometres, depending on the body style. What you transport in the van will have an impact on that figure of course, and colder weather can also impact battery performance. 

However, Ford does equip the E-Transit with all the same pre-conditioning functionality that you would find in an electric car. Using this utility to warm the van up while it's still plugged in and charging not only makes it more comfortable when you get in on a cold morning, but it can potentially save you time by having the windows already defrosted and having the battery warmed to an optimum operating temperature will ensure the most range for that day's driving. 

The driving position is the same as in a diesel Transit, with an elevated view and decent side mirrors. Ford also offers a rear-view camera system in addition to the reversing camera. One often unstated advantage of an electric van is how much quieter and smoother it is to drive than a diesel, especially in traffic. 

Ford E-Transit Pricing 

The Ford E-Transit has a starting price of €59,264 including taxes and that increases depending on the body style and either Leader or Trend specification grades.

Carzone Verdict: 4/5 

An electric van won't suit everybody, but the Ford E-Transit has a sufficient battery and driving range that will give many owner-operators and fleet managers pause for thought. The prospect of reducing running costs alongside emissions brings many benefits, and its smoothness when driving makes it a more comfortable van to drive. 

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